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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY   AN-D    HUMAN    RELATIONS

general welfare. Against those who demanded that
the historian should more directly serve his time and
age, the German historian Meinecke, even in 191$,
asserted in a moving manner the long-term advantages
of academic history; but it must be remembered that in
more pressing times it is easy to feel that the historian
should serve the government—easy to overlook the
long-term benefits of an historiography which insists on
keeping a higher altitude. In a case where a change in
the relationship of the State to historical study is in
question, causes may be lost by the selling of very little
passes—even by unconscious compliances and com-
plicities. Eighteenth-century Whiggism was correct in
stressing the point that when men have inherited freedom,-
and have not had to fight for it themselves, they easily
allow it to slide away, not realising that concessions
apparently innocuous, when made to people whom we
happen to like and trust, become at the next remove the
ground from which a new generation of men can make
a more serious encroachment on liberty. Some of our
nineteenth-century historians wrote as though they
remembered much more clearly than we do that freedom
is always a fight,.always a striving, always a matter of
vigilance and alertness. The relations of a government
with historical study are on a different footing from
those which exist in the case of any of the other sciences.
It is necessary for the outside student, therefore, always
to be on his guard.

The relationship of technical historians to " official
history" in our days is no doubt good for official
history which can only benefit from the connection.

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